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Syria Chemical Attack a Clumsy Atrocity By Islamists to 'Buy Time' (Izvestia, Russia)


"Since the spring, Assad’s troops have been successfully putting pressure on the rebels. With a backdrop of U.N. experts arriving in the country to investigate possible uses of chemical weapons, using them now would be shear madness. ... It should be noted that the rebels have chemical agents at their disposal, along with the means to dispatch them. ... The situation is similar to a phone call about a bomb planted in a school. The call - even if a prank played by a troublemaker or criminal, distracts from the real issue, making it necessary to verify and defer any intended course of action until later."


By Stanislav Khatuntsev, Historian*



Translated By John Amor


August 26, 2013


Russia - Izvestia - Original Article (Russian)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warns against Western intervention in Syria; says hysteria around chemical attack suits those who want intervention.


RUSSIA TODAY NEWS VIDEO, RUSSIA: Russian Foreign Minister Sergeo Lavrov warns against Western intervention in Syria, Aug. 26, 00:43:21RealVideo

Across Syria, a new "chemical tide" is rising. In scale, it exceeds all previous such tides: the number of victims and survivors rises into the thousands. Assad is accused again of using chemical warfare agents. And this, again, is dubious. The faces of his "prosecutors" are as familiar as an old callus.


In addition to the notorious Al-Jazeera, the focus on the issue is also being carried out by Al-Arabia TV, based in one of the United Arab Emirates - Dubai. It was Al-Arabia that first reported the attack on Eastern Guta - an oasis near Damascus controlled by the rebels. The UAE is a reliable ally to the House of Saud and other Gulf monarchies in the fight against the Syrian regime, and Al-Arabia is the Emirate's well-oiled information machine.


Al-Assad has been sharply denounced by Ahmad Al-Jarba, head of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, pawn of Saudi intelligence director Bandar Bin Sultan. Al-Jarba is not in Syria, but in Istanbul, and knows only by hearsay about what's happening back home. He has behind him a rich criminal past. Jarba is hero of a felonious odyssey, and not just in Syria, but Saudi Arabia as well. In 2008, Syria returned him to his homeland within the framework of a prisoner exchange agreement between the two countries. In Saudi Arabia, Jarba was in prison for drug smuggling. Afterwards, he maintained a network of brothels. But this "moral character" and "leader of the revolution" is best characterized by the story of a disgraced Qatari foreign minister. It seems that the then emir - Hamad Al Thani - wanted Al-Jarba's help dispatching him to Allah. Jarba was paid by both the emir and the former minister, whom he informed of the planned attempt on his life. There was an international scandal, Jarba was convicted of fraud and again put behind bars.


None of does anything to prevent French Foreign Minister Lorain Fabius from trusting him. Jarba is the "source of information" on the situation in Syria to this head of diplomacy. Based on his words, the French minister even allows for a resort to force in response to the alleged chemical attack in the country.


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Fabius discussed the Syrian Crisis with his British counterpart William Hague, who said that new evidence of the use of weapons of mass destruction by Damascus will help supporters of the Assad regime “wake up” and “realize the regime's murderous and barbaric nature.” So both Fabius and Hague have spoken without waiting for any investigation into the incident in Guta.


However, logic and common sense dictate that the Syrian government could not only do without such a chemical attack, given the number of casualties, it on the whole damages its position. Indeed, since the spring, Assad’s troops have been successfully putting pressure on the rebels. With a backdrop of U.N. experts arriving in the country to investigate possible uses of chemical weapons, using them now would be shear madness - and not even political madness mind you, but madness of the most ordinary, everyday kind. The authorities in Damascus are not like madmen at all, though. They have broken the military campaign in the country in their favor, and step by step they are achieving victory over their adversaries.


Many serious analysts and political figures suggest that the massacre in East Guta benefits the opposition. First, by shifting attention to this suburb of the capital, the extremists have shuffled the cards, disrupting the work of the U.N. Commission, which had initiated an investigation into the possible use of chemical agents by the Islamists themselves. Second, this incident on the outskirts of Damascus has dealt a blow to the peace process, preventing an international conference on Syria from convening. Proposed for Sept. 28, preparations were under way for the next Russia-U.S. meeting.


But there is a third, no less important point. The international community has with one voice demanded a speedy investigation into the incident in Guta, and to make humanitarian aid available to the injured. This comes as government troops have begun an apparently long-prepared assault on the Islamists' position in that region. For the second day in a row, there has been artillery shelling in the Damascus suburbs. An immediate investigation will require a cessation of hostilities, both by Assad’s forces and the rebels.


In the words of Deputy U.N. Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, for an effective and prompt investigation, all clashes must stop, both at the spot of the alleged attack and the country as a whole. This is very much in the hands of the jihadists. Faced with an opponent of superior strength, they are buying time to rest, regroup, find reinforcements, weapons, provisions, and munitions, and to transport the injured to the rear, etc. In general, the extremists now have the opportunity to disrupt the enemy’s advance, and at the same time launch a counterattack.


Unless Damascus wants more global obstacles, it will be forced to cease operations in Guta. The situation is similar to a phone call about a bomb planted in a school. Specialists understand that the call - even if a prank played by a troublemaker or criminal, distracts from the real issue, making it necessary to verify and defer any intended course of action until later.


It should be noted that the rebels have chemical agents at their disposal, along with the means to dispatch them. They are “homemade,” but quite lethal nonetheless. According to reliable reports, the Islamists have already used them - on March 19 this year, among other occasions, in the north of the country south of Aleppo.


It is also of no small importance that according to information from the Kurdish National Council in Syria, the incident occurred in a place inhabited mainly by Kurds. In recent weeks, the Islamists have been actively at war with them. Therefore, the Kurds can be seen as opponents of the rebels, and at a minimum, potential allies of Assad. Damascus benefits absolutely nothing by turning potential allies into enemies, whereas the Islamists are always ready to exterminate their foes, and ideally in some fanatical manner.

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So at the moment, the picture of the possible use of weapons of mass destruction in the Guta region appears as follows.


Aware of the imminent approach of the enemy, the rebels resorted to military stratagem: after having armed missiles armed with chemical agents, when the attack by government forces began, they hurled them at this oasis, striking civilians, among whom were a high percentage of ethnic Kurds. It is also possible that the Islamists, having the means to do so, simply rounded up hundreds of people and poisoned them, pure and simple. After which they offered up their victims as sufferers from a chemical attack by the Syrian army.


Note that in video images, the rebels are seen strutting among the dead (if it isn't a dramatization) with neither protective clothing or respirators. Never mind masks - even the handkerchiefs they wear aren't covering their faces. That is, either the people fighting the regime are essentially supermen, not susceptible to the destructive effects of chemical weapons, or they somehow knew that the consequences of their "use" were no threat to them.


In sum, until it is proved to the contrary, we must assume that if chemical agents were utilized in Guta, then the responsibility lies not with Damascus but with its opponents. Consequently, the incident on the outskirts of the Syrian capital must be regarded as the latest clumsy atrocity by the Islamists operating in Syria.


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Posted By Worldmeets.US Aug. 26, 2013, 6:51pm